I’ve noticed for a while a series people have been posting on Facebook of music albums which have been important to them for one reason or another. It’s been really interesting to see what people choose; sometimes they just share a photo of the cover with minimal comment, sometimes they write more describing when and why the particular album was of such significance or importance to them My dear friend and gifted artist and musician, Ros Cuthbert, challenged me to share then albums which are important to me, or have challenged me in some way. Suddenly after enjoying  finding out what others are .posting I am on the spot!

It’s quite an exciting challenge, and for me, very much about thinking back about my life. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve tried to write autobiographically, but have found it very difficult to find my “voice”; maybe this challenge won’t particularly do that but may shine a little light into my past!

Here is what I shared as my first choice, and what I said in my post:

I’ve been nominated by Ros Cuthbert to share an album a day for ten days. My choices should be albums which were a formative influence – tricky proposition!
My first is Darius Milhaud La Creation du Monde including Suite Provencale; the image is of the album I had by the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Munch.
When I was at school in Cambridge, we used to have a record played during assembly, and when I heard this it absolutely amazed me. I was so struck by it that I was brave enough to ask the music teacher what it was and wrote the name down in pencil on a bit of paper. I saved my pocket money so I could buy it. This record was produced in 1962, so it would be sometime after that when I heard it, maybe 1963 or 1964 – so it has been with me for a very long time…

Darius Milhaud as born in Marseilles in France in 1892; he studied music at The Conservatoire de Paris, and then worked in Brazil as secretary to Paul Claudel, the poet and dramatist; it’s not surprising that Milhaud’s music was very much influenced by his time in South America. The other major influence on his music was a trip to New York where he came across jazz in Harlem. Milhaid was not only a composer but also conductor, and teacher. He was a member of Les Six, a group of composers and musicians, Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Francis Poulenc , and Germaine Tailleferre. Milhaud and his wife (who was also his cousin) were Jewish so as the war approached they left France and went to America. He continued to live and work there, and one of his students was Dave Brubeck! He composed and taught into old age despite ill health,  and died at the age of eighty-one. I didn’t realise when I fell in love with his music and saved my pocket money to buy his work that he was still alive; to me then, classical music was a thing of the past!

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